Love & Friendship

Director: Whit Stillman
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 2.0

Recently widowed - and poor! - Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) decides she needs to marry off her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) - who cannot stop running away from school - to a wealthy man and get re-married herself, using everyone around her as pawns for her personal chess match. I suppose it makes a bit of sense for Stillman - best known for filming modern day WASPs chatting, drinking and gossiping - to look back in time for an artistic muse (Jane Austen being equally light and oh-so-social), however the movie's sense of "humor" would be dry even in the 18th century and his lead is basically a repellent sociopath with a pretty face (who isn't as multi-faceted as later Austen creations). The generally humorous Stephen Fry is given little screen time and one should savor the few scenes with Tom Bennett's Sir James, whose oafish simpleton steals every scene he's in ... and may be the most "human" figure in all of this.